Friday, January 18, 2013

The Job Interview Process: Stresses Before, During And After The Interview

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Job interviews have to be one of the most stressful situations we can find ourselves in. Thinking logically and calmly about the situation, it is merely a chance for us to highlight our strengths and abilities for the role we are being interviewed for, but on the actual day, knowing that our every move and word is being critically analysed--often by more than one or two people--can cause us the greatest of stress. This can be stress in the time before the actual interview, during the interview itself and afterwards.

I have personal experience of 'both sides of the desk' here. Although it has been a good few years now since I had a formal interview, I have experienced many of these in the past and in more recent years, have been lucky enough to experience this situation from the other side of the desk conducting interviews. Thirdly, this is also a topic of conversation and tension that has arisen when talking to my clients dealing with both stress and anger management.

While there are the classic horror stories--some outrageous and others non-too pleasant--I can safely say that the majority of interviews pass without major incident. Instead, it seems to be the smaller routine things that cause the greatest of stresses and indeed anger. I would also like to point out to people--especially if you have an interview planned--that it is not only a stressful time for yourself as a potential employee but also quite often equally stressful for the interviewer.

There are so many outrageous horror stories I have heard over the years with probably the most astonishing being a person who had a bad cold, sneezing and as a result the contents of this going all themselves and over the interviewer. Another is the person who was asked why they wanted the job simply saying that 'they wanted loads of dosh (money)'. Quite honestly, the most stressful things I have personally seen when interviewing people have been more mundane things: people forgetting their words: not listening to the question properly or knocking their cup of tea over upon leaving the room. Incidentally, it is these small things that we can take measures against--although accidents with tea cups and such will always happen!
There are three main stressful situations involved in the job interview process that we should be aware of.

STRESS BEFORE THE INTERVIEW - Many websites and even written literature about avoiding stress and mistakes in job interviews tend to focus upon the interview itself, but this is not the only time when we can become stressed. Like many activities in life, preparation is essential for successful interviews but along with this, the stresses of an interview can arise straight after receiving the initial telephone call or letter to inform us we have been 'invited to attend the interview'. This may be as far as one month in advance to the time until entering the door of the actual interview room. Even so, it is just as essential to avoid stress here as in the interview itself.

DURING THE INTERVIEW - It goes without saying that this time is crucial in getting that all-important job and as such the stresses at this time can be immense. Every second of every minute counts and can mean the difference between getting the job or not. From entering the interview building/room to leaving, stress needs to be kept at bay to make us stand out from the crowd.

AFTER THE INTERVIEW - The stresses at this time are seldom mentioned but nonetheless are extremely important. Making ourselves ill over what has gone before will only make matters worse, and at best will not help or improve the situation. Indeed, the stresses that can arise during this time can actually cause us stress in our next job interview and adverse effects to our health more generally - hence these are best avoided if at all possible.

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